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Jun 18, 2015

PACT Act Amendments Tabled in Cabinet

Edilberto Romero

Amendments to the PACT Act which were allegedly tabled at Cabinet have been the cause of much speculation and even concern among N.G.O.s in Belize. Some representatives we spoke to told us that while they have been lobbying for amendments to the Act since 2006, they just don’t know that the final draft tabled in Cabinet incorporates the desired amendments. The reason they don’t know is because they say there was no widespread consultations before the amendments were drafted. On Wednesday, we tried to get comments from C.E.O. and PACT Chair, Adele Catzim-Sanchez, but she referred us to Minister Lisel Alamilla who was unavailable. But today, we did get the opportunity to speak to the Executive Director of the one of the largest N.G.O.s, Programme for Belize. He told us there was some consultation, but nowhere near enough for such a crucial bill.

 

Edilberto Romero, Executive Director, Programme for Belize

“We have been presented with a draft of the amendments. We had concerns, we shared some concerns on that dealing with the board composition, the establishment of technical committees and the fact that PACT will be doing more actual coordination of protected areas management. But we’ve only reached to that stage. We know that a cabinet document has been tabled; we don’t know what exactly is in that cabinet document, in that amendment that went to the PACT. We don’t really know whether the concerns of the N.G.O.s were addressed; I can’t really say. And then the other thing that is going on is the national protected areas systems act that I understand has been tabled to the cabinet. Now we have been asking for that. The national protected areas system act, currently as it stands, does not allow for private lands as protected areas and it doesn’t allow for co-management. So all the co-management agreements that have been signed are basically illegal or not legal because there is no legal base for that so this is going to bring that. The trick of course is in the details that is in there and I am not sure what’s in there. So I really can’t say much.”

 

Mike Rudon

“In that vein, I understand that what is one of the biggest concerns is that there has not been enough consultation with the N.G.O.s, with the people who are the real stakeholders in PACT.”

 

Edilberto Romero

“Well of course, there have been some consultation, but we were expecting, because we hadn’t reached to a point, we shared concerns. So we were expecting another round of consultations to see where we will meet in terms of those concerns; how it will be addressed before it’s being tabled to the cabinet or the House of Representative for it to be passed as legislation. That has not happened…so there has been some consultation; it is not close to being adequate at this point I can say. In my view, and I can only speak for Programme for Belize at this point, I think there should be more consultation on it before any further steps are made on that so that the people who are on the ground, the organizations that are actually managing protected areas can have a good say on that and to ensure that those legislations really provide for proper management of protected areas.”

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1 Response for “PACT Act Amendments Tabled in Cabinet”

  1. Hatari says:

    The NPAS & PACT legislation that GOB is trying to slide under the door is an attempt to turn the PACT moneys into a slush fund controlled by the Minister and will endanger the future of our protected areas. It is flawed legislation and must be stopped.

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